Sleep is very important for the human body; it is a basic biological need, such as food. Poor quality or lack of sleep has many negative effects on our daily lives affecting our emotional, physical and mental health. This applies for both adults and children.
Children having slept well, the next day are happy, social and more focused in school. On the contrary, poor quality sleep causes stress, fatigue and drowsiness during the day. Many parents face problems with the sleeping habits of their children. Many parents begin their day with lack of sleep, feeling exhausted and tired, after a night trying to put their children to sleep with no result. They often lose their patience, get angry with their children, quarrel with them and then feel guilty about those feelings. We, at the “115 25 Together for Children" helpline, have received many calls from parents asking for advice on how to manage with this issue.
Create a fixed program for sleep
First of all, it is important that the time of sleep is fixed; going to bed early every day at the same time e.g. every night at 9.00. Before bedtime give your child a warm bath and wash the teeth. Also ask if your child wants to drink milk, water or go to the toilet before going to bed.
Emphasize on preparations before sleep
Ask nicely from your child to go to his/her room to sleep. When you lie down, tell him that you will leave the room to sleep, but you can call you if he/she needs something. Let it get in bed with him, a favorite toy.
Avoid turning on the TV or any other electronic devices before bedtime since they are sources of cause of stress and excitement. Tell a story and hug him/her to relax. Make sure that the room is tidy quiet and with proper temperature and lighting. It is advisable to leave a light on at the room.
If the child wakes up during the night and comes to your bed, return him/her to bed to sleep. Do not let your child sleep in your bed; help him/her become autonomous.
Parents should remember to repeat the program every night on a steady basis, so that the child can adapt to it.
Evangelia Paterdi, Director of Mental Health
"Together for Children"
Nationwide Hotline 115 25 and Counseling Center for mothers, parents, children and adolescents